Bringing Native American Literature to Spanish Students

Bringing Native American Literature to Spanish Students

José Manuel Correoso-Rodenas (Univesidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3379-6.ch013

Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to explain an experience developed with the students of the College of Humanities of Albacete. The experience tried to bring contemporary Native American literature to humanities majors. During two sessions, those students were given general notions about the panorama of current Native American literature and about Leslie Marmon Silko's production in particular. In the first session, a historical and literary explanation was offered in relation the Native nations. On the other hand, during the session, the authors developed a comprehensive and intensive reading of “Storyteller,” for this tale was specially adequate to the authors' purposes both due to its literary value and to its difficulty. Through it, the students could get acquainted with Native American literature, enhancing their conceptions about the American literary canon and offering them a new perspective for addressing contemporary literatures produced in English.
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Storyteller And The Importance Of Stories

The volume Storyteller was first published in 1981, after the great success of the novel Ceremony (1977). Unlike in her previous work, Leslie Marmon Silko tries to achieve a much more complete task here, gathering different traditions and experiences in a single volume. The result of all that is the particular format of Storyteller, with short stories, narrative poems, traditional poetry, memoirs, photographs of the writer’s ancestors and of members of the Laguna-Pueblo and Navajo communities, etc. Focusing on the stories, these are organized around three main ideas. Halfway between narration and autobiography,9 it is possible to find examples where the author deals with the life in the US Southwest, with a historical view from the last decades of the 19th century to the 1970s. To do that, she frequently uses material given by members of her family, specially her father Leland Howard Marmon and her aunt Susie Reyes Marmon,10 a pioneer who modernized the society of the tribe. Besides, Silko included in Storyteller two completely different scenarios to set her fiction. The first of them is the world of the Laguna-Pueblo and Navajo nations, along with that of the Hopi (mainly Arizona and New Mexico). Stories like “Yellow Woman” or “Tony’s Story” belong to this section of the book, along with the narrative poem poem “Long Time Ago,” an epic of the Laguna-Pueblo. In it, the different waves of foreign invaders are narrated, form the Spanish conquistadors to the American government:

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